Ann Donohue, CSJ

We remember her in the rustling of the leaves and in the beauty of autumn.

September 3, 1935 – November 10, 2018

Ann Marie Donohoe received the name of Sister Grace Patricia at the reception of the habit of the Sisters of St. Joseph. The name was aptly conferred on a woman who was both gracious and graced. Ann was one of three daughters born to Patrick and Annie Donohoe, who were originally from County Galway, Ireland.

The quote from the Constitution of the Sisters of St. Joseph, which is printed on the cover of today’s program, had special significance for Sister Ann Donohoe, whose life we celebrate today. As evidenced by the many ways in which she ministered to the people of God, Ann was truly attentive to God’s will and love, to the church and its mission, and to the world and its concerns. Throughout her life Ann’s ministries were varied as teacher, special educator, receptionist, and advisor. To each position Ann brought her gentle, caring manner.

Among Ann’s ministries were seven years served at Campion Center in Weston. In its newsletter Ann was recognized for her special gifts. The quote reads: “A friendly, capable, loving person, Ann is truly an emissary of hospitality for Campion.”

During her time as a teacher at St. Catherine’s, Somerville, Ann was in the forefront of actions promoting peace.  Ann joined an assembly of 25,000 people who gathered in our nation’s capital to create a ribbon of peace stretching for fifteen miles.

Her fourth grade class advocated on behalf of the less fortunate “dear neighbor” by visiting nursing homes, collecting food for several local food pantries and contributing to Oxfam.  In her quiet unassuming manner Ann was truly an activist.  Certainly she lived our CSJ charism of unity and reconciliation.

 Given by: Sister Judith Costello, CSJ

November 16, 2018

 Ann’s cousin, Kevin Meskell, offered reflections on behalf of the family.

I spoke with “Nancy’s” sister Joan and she asked me to say a few words on behalf of the family. Nancy was my godmother I immediately said that I would be pleased to do so. Most of you know her as Sister Ann and, since I can remember, I have always known her as Nancy. Apparently, her mother (my aunt Annie) wanted to name her Nancy but, back in the day, you needed to name a child after a saint – hence Ann.  Needless to say “Nancy” stuck thereafter. 

Joan told me that the two qualities Nancy demonstrated throughout her life were her faithfulness to her community and to her family. She entered the convent when Joan was only twelve and I was around two or three years old. When we would have our family visits in Revere we gathered around with her parents Annie and Pat and my grandmother Kate. Joan would be there as well as Nancy, when she could have a get away from wherever she happened to be, and we all enjoyed the merriment of those occasions. We’d later make the obligatory Sunday visits to her various locations and remember, in particular, the Randolph School for the Deaf where my sisters and I would test the equipment and then my brother and I would escape to find a gym and play basketball.

It wasn’t until adulthood that we gained a greater appreciation of her commitment and love of both community and family. She would make every effort to be with family, whatever the occasion. Visits to have tea with my mother with whom she shared a special relationship were immensely important as were those with my sisters, my brother and me. She and Joan were an extension of our family and when Nancy could visit with us in Florida or Cape Cod or celebrate her Jubilee at our home it was always special. 

It was during her visits to my home where my children got to know her and I gained better insights into her love of community, the fellowship she shared with so many of you and it was very apparent that she loved being a sister. We had wonderful conversations on religion and faith and, as you might expect, the unfulfilled role of women in the church. She was intelligent – articulate – intuitive – and undoubtedly opinionated.  In light of the crisis facing the church today she would be in the forefront of those offering her ideas on how women could be instrumental in seeking solutions.

We will miss those conversations and the time our family had with her. As she said often when someone departed, “they’ve gone to God”, and now she too will be happy with Him forever.

 Given by: Kevin Meskell (cousin)